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Matheson Launches New Initiative to Promote Greater Access to the Legal Profession

Services: Career First Programme Date: 14/02/2024

Firm's Career First Programme Now Dedicated to Students on University Access Schemes

Matheson has launched a new initiative designed to promote diversity and address the under-representation of students from less socially mobile backgrounds in the legal profession.

The firm has remodelled its undergraduate Career First Programme to become a fully social mobility-focused initiative exclusively open to first and second year undergraduate students on the Higher Education Access Route (HEAR) and on the Disability Access Route to Education (DARE) schemes – the first of its kind to be offered by an Irish law firm.  The six-month programme will support students to succeed in their academic studies through a customised skills development programme and an assigned mentor from Matheson.  Students will also have the opportunity to complete a week-long work placement in the firm.

Matheson has been focused on driving diversity and inclusion for many years and this programme is the latest in a series of diversity initiatives launched by the firm that support its priorities.  These initiatives include: the Cara Scholarship, an annual scholarship open to second year undergraduate students in TCD, including students on the HEAR or the DARE schemes, mature students and students who face barriers in third level education, and the firm's Transition Year Programme, which provides TY students - including students from Delivering Equality of Opportunity in Schools (DEIS) schools - with insight into corporate life through a series of workshops and presentations.  Last year, the firm launched the Matheson Diversity in Law Newman Fellowship in partnership with University College Dublin which will contribute to building research-based evidence in the field of access to legal education for under-represented groups.

Commenting on the launch of the remodelled Career First Programme, Michael Jackson, Managing Partner at Matheson, said:

Promoting diversity and inclusion across our business and across the wider legal profession is a key priority for us.  As a firm, it is important that we are thoughtful about diversity in all aspects of our business, including the diversity of our own teams and the students that join our programmes to experience life at Matheson.  We strongly believe that career success should be defined by talent and the way in which that talent is applied, not by an individual's circumstances or background, and we are committed to playing our part to address the challenges which create barriers for many in pursuing a legal career.”

Nicola White, Director of Learning and Development at Matheson, commented:

Diversity is one of our core values and as a firm we are committed to enhancing access to the legal profession. Since 2020, we have ensured that ensured that at least 50% of the participants on our Career First Programme were students on either the HEAR or DARE schemes and we are delighted to now be able to offer our programme exclusively to Access students.”

The Career First Programme builds on the firm's range of student and graduate programmes, including the First Step Programme, the summer internship programme and the trainee lawyer programme. 

About the Career First Programme

The Career First Programme will give students an insight into the legal profession and how a leading internationally-focused law firm operates over a six-month period.  Students will participate in a two-part introductory session with Matheson in April, a week placement in the firm's offices in July and a one-day skills-based workshop in October to fully understand the skills necessary for success.  In addition to building a strong network of contacts, students will also have access to the Graduate Talent and Development team and will be assigned a dedicated mentor for advice and support throughout the programme.  

Application Details

The Career First Programme is open for applications from Thursday, 15 February to Wednesday, 13 March 2024.  Successful participants will be selected based on their application form. To learn more and to apply please visit our dedicated programme page.


This programme is open to first and second year undergraduate Access students on HEAR or DARE schemes.


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